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Reading — to Write

January 18, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments
It seems like every time I sit down to write, I end up reading.  That’s not to say that I never write, after all, I’m writing now; but writing, at least the writing I do, requires A LOT of reading.  If I make a resolution that I’ll enter at least one contest every month, I have to research every contest to determine which essay or story I’ve written is best suited for entry.  Researching contests means reading what has won in the past and, if the contest is connected with a journal, reading past issues of the journal — which often leads to the question, “Why not just submit?”, which means reading submission requirements and scouring web-sites for rights information.  And all that reading doesn’t even take into account the activities of looking for an agent and prospecting a new book; both of which open new cans of reading worms.  And fiction writers “should” be familiar with novels and writers, both classic and contemporary (I’ve never read anything by James Baldwin and the volumes of half-read books on my shelves is truly embarrassing).  And the experts tell us that our writing will be better if we stop reading and writing sometimes and do other things like exercise or get massages.  And our spouses want us to watch movies with them…

Honestly!  By most mainstream standards, I’m a voracious reader; yet every agent website I visit, every conversation I have with other writers, every contest that I enter, reminds me of how far behind I am in my reading.  How fondly I remember the old days – when I was only a reader.

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